Prestigious educational institution gets large campus church


RIA Novosti, 6 March 2016


Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill on Sunday performed the consecration of the church of Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky, which is the university church within the Moscow State Institute of International Relations [Moskovskii Gosudarstvennyi Institute Mezhdunarodnykh Otnoshenii—MGIMO]. The divine liturgy was performed with the participation of hundreds of people, among whom were teachers, staff, and students of the institution of higher education.


"Today, on the day of consecration, we have here not simply people who are casual drop-ins who are interested in the ceremony itself. I see a vital Christian community: people of old age, middle age, youth, children, who are united in the same faith and who constitute one large parish of the church of the Holy Pious Prince Alexander Nevsky," the patriarch said during the sermon after the liturgy.


The event began with the ritual of consecration of the church building. Then the liturgy was conducted, joining hundreds of worshipers, among whom were representatives of the Moscow patriarchate, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the teaching and student community of MGIMO, and leaders of business and culture.


Yury Viazemsky, a professor of the university and director of the program "Smart Men and Women," called today's event "colossal," since the community of which he is a member was "very difficult" to come to. He thinks that "without doubt the church will be an aid for the community of MGIMO, although the students of the school are of different confessions."


"Everything began when an initiative group of teachers and students of MGIMO, who were led by Professor Aleksei Mikhailovich Salmin, who unfortunately did not live to this happy moment, came to the rector, Anatoly Vasilevich Torkunov, and announced the initiative. He supported it. And after it was organized a meeting was held with Patriarch Alexis II. We went to the patriarch's office in May 2005 and he signed an order for the creation of a patriarchal annex and church in honor of the pious Prince Alexander Nevsky," the head of the synod's Department for Relations of Church with Society and News Media, MGIMO Professor Vladimir Legoida, shared with RIA Novosti. He said that each stage of the construction of the church was quite laborious. Nevertheless, Archpriest Igor Fomin was appointed rector of the still unbuilt church, thanks to whom, Legoida said, "a community immediately appeared."


Then, after the signing of the patriarchal order and appointment of the rector, there began the long process of completing all necessary documents. "There began the routine, difficult work connected with site clearance and preparing all necessary permits," MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov said in a conversation with the news agency.


Parishioner Konstantin of the church notes that the process of collecting signatures for allocation of the site "was very time consuming." The site for construction, to which "many laid claims," was chosen deliberately, since in pre-revolutionary years a rural church in honor of Nicholas the Miracle-worker was located in this place.


In his turn, Torkunov thinks that the most difficult was the time when "the church was half or even more built and the finances were completely gone." The issue is that the church was built exclusively with donations "from friends of the school, businessmen, teachers, and students," and not at the expense of the school or funds from the state budget.


Later the church was included in the "Program of construction of Orthodox churches in the city of Moscow." In 2012 the temporary St. Nicholas church was built, which was the largest building of its kind in the capital. Even then, as Legoida assured, it was filled with parishioners. The construction of the main church in honor of Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky began in 2013. (tr. by PDS, posted 7 March 2016)

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